Thailand is gearing up in the race to tap Myanmar’s emerging economy after decades of isolation.

Democratic and economic reforms underway in the once junta-ruled southeast Asian country have attracted several Thai companies from the media and food sector. According to The Nikkei, total Thai investment in Myanmar amounted to $10.4 billion dollars at the end of fiscal 2011.

The easing of tight controls on media has paved the way for media services demand in the country. Commercial broadcaster BEC World PCL will produce TV dramas and other kinds of programming in a joint venture with Myanmar’s Forever Group Co. English newspaper publisher Nation Multimedia Group PCL teamed up with Myanmar’s largest private newspaper publisher to launch an English-language news website.

Other companies from the food sector are also seeking to tap Myanmar’s consumer market. Japanese restaurant chain group in Thailand, Fuji, recently opened its first store in Yangon and says it plans to open outlets in Naypyidaw and Mandalay. Minor Food Group plans to operate ice cream shops in Myanmar from next year.

Myanmar’s economy has been hampered by decades of economic sanctions and delinquent loans, but further reforms have helped open up the economy.